Tag Archive | "McHale"

Serena Williams Wards Off Diyas for a Spot into the Fourth Round at the Miami Open

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Serena Williams Wards Off Diyas for a Spot into the Fourth Round at the Miami Open

After a brutal three set tussle with fellow American Christina McHale two days ago, Serena Williams was probably looking forward to a routine third round match at the Miami Open against Zarina Diyas ranked 97th. Yet, this encounter was anything, but. The world number had to claw her way to a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

On the heels of Rafael Nadal retiring because of the insufferable heat to Damir Dzumhur world number 94th from Bosnia, the air seemed to have been sucked out of the stadium. However, when Williams broke to open the proceedings, there was a sense that perhaps order would be restored swiftly. Yet, her 22 year old opponent from Kazakhstan would not be docile. A few fist pumps followed a comeback from 15-40 to deuce. Soon after, Diyas leveled the set at 1 game a piece. There was no apparent hangover from their only prior meeting at Indian Wells in 2015, when Williams dismantled her 6-2, 6-0.

As a reminder though, Williams quickly broke at love the third game and consolidated for a 3-1 advantage. Still the young Kazakh refused to fold. After holding serve at love for 4-5, Diyas manufactured a break point by forcing three successive miscues from Williams. By pushing her counterpart into a backhand mistake, Diyas equalized the set at 5 all. Ultimately, Williams shifted gears to regain the control promptly and on her second try closed out the the set.

On a roll with six straight games, it seemed that the eight time Miami Open champion would cruise to victory. Once more, Diyas was not through. As Williams serve deserted her and the errors piled on, Diyas secured three successive games to reduce the deficit to a sole break 3-4.

The eighth game Williams stood fast to guard serve for 5-3. Later, with Diyas dumping a forehand into the net, the American was at double match point. As Diyas’ backhand misfired, relief was evident on Williams’ part as she punched her ticket into the round of 16.

Today’s triumph represents Williams’ 750th career match win. Despite, consecutive finals losses, the Australian Open and Indian Wells, something that Williams has not experienced in over a decade. She will surely surpass Lindsay Davenport’s 753 mark which is seventh best all time.

Williams acknowledged that today she had to problem solve along the way “She’s been on tour a few years. I’ve played her before and I know her game really well . . . I think she played above her level the whole match, and I think that’s actually a good sign for her, to know that she can play like that. . . I had to really raise my level to win today. I think she is doing everything better. More than anything, she had a lot of confidence this time. Obviously she has nothing to lose.”

By the time Williams got on court, the weather conditions had improved compared to the preceding match ” It was definitely humid today. Rafa played like an hour and a half, two hours before me, so that makes a huge difference. . he was in the most intense part of the sun; whereas I was kind of at tail end of it. . . For me the biggest adjustment I had to make is I usually never use a towel. Here I might have to go grab the towel in between points. . . But, I have been living here for over 20 years. I love these conditions actually.”

Up next for Williams is Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian edged out Caroline Garcia in a third set tiebreaker. Although the world number one has a 8-2 record over Kuznetsova, their riveting showdown at the French Open in 2013, it should be another thrilling contest. “It’s a great match-up. She plays well and makes a lot of the great shots. She’s actually been playing well this year. She had a couple big wins and couple good tournaments. I have my work cut out for me. We’ll see what happens.”

Off the court, the two are amicable. Williams cited ” we get along great. That’s no secret. She’s just someone that you respect and you like… Just something about her that I think everyone likes.”

Nothing like being at home, Williams has been dominant at this venue with a 74 wins and 7 losses. Moreover, Williams has not been ousted prior to the round of 16 since 2000 when she tasted defeat at the hand of Jennifer Capriati. Consequently, Monday’s match will be quite compelling as the top ranked player looks to reboot her 2016 season by continuing her quest for a ninth Miami Open title.

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Clijsters, Venus and Gonzalez On Tap At the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open

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Clijsters, Venus and Gonzalez On Tap At the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open

Opening day at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open kicks off with four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters taking on Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia in first round action. Two-time winner at the Sony Ericsson Open, Clijsters is playing in her first event since her semifinal appearance at the Australian Open.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams will also be taking to the courts during Wednesday’s day session. Williams, a three-time winner at the Sony Ericsson Open, will face Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan in her first round match.

On the men’s side, 2008 Sony Ericsson Open champion Nikolay Davydenko will face James Blake. Argentine David Nalbandian takes on Steve Darcis of Belgium.

The night session is headlined by Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. A 13-year veteran on the ATP tour, Gonzalez is playing in his final tournament and will retire after the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open. Gonzalez’s opponent will be Nicholas Mahut of France.

In the second match of the night session, American Christina McHale will face off with Galina Voskoboeva.

Here is today’s complete order of play :

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

STADIUM Start 11:00 am

Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) v Kim Clijsters (BEL) WTA
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v James Blake (USA) ATP
[WC] Venus Williams (USA) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) WTA
David Nalbandian (ARG) v Steve Darcis (BEL) ATP

Starting at 7:30 PM
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) v [WC] Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) ATP
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) v Christina Mchale (USA) WTA

GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am

Gisela Dulko (ARG) v Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) WTA
Ryan Sweeting (USA) v Lukas Lacko (SVK) ATP
[Q] Guillaume Rufin (FRA) v Tommy Haas (GER) ATP
Vania King (USA) v Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) WTA
[Q] Jamie Hampton (USA) v Polona Hercog (SLO) WTA

COURT 1 Start 11:00 am

Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) v Frederico Gil (POR) ATP
Shahar Peer (ISR) v [Q] Alize Cornet (FRA) WTA
[Q] Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) v Xavier Malisse (BEL) ATP
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) v [Q] Madison Keys (USA) WTA
Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) v Ksenia Pervak (KAZ) WTA

COURT 2 Start 11:00 am

Robin Haase (NED) v [WC] Marinko Matosevic (AUS) ATP
Pablo Andujar (ESP) v Santiago Giraldo (COL) ATP
[Q] Antonio Veic (CRO) v [WC] Denis Kudla (USA) ATP
[WC] Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) v Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) WTA
Ayumi Morita (JPN) v [WC] Garbine Muguruza Blanco (ESP) WTA

COURT 3 Start 11:00 am

Alejandro Falla (COL) v Denis Istomin (UZB) ATP
[WC] Olivia Rogowska (AUS) v [Q] Stephanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) WTA
Pauline Parmentier (FRA) v [Q] Sloane Stephens (USA) WTA

COURT 6 Start 3:00 pm

Dudi Sela (ISR) v [Q] Arnaud Clement (FRA) ATP
Philipp Petzschner (GER) v Ivan Dodig (CRO) ATP

COURT 7 Start 11:00 am

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) ATP
Michael Llodra (FRA) v Lukas Rosol (CZE) ATP
Alberta Brianti (ITA) v [Q] Melinda Czink (HUN) WTA
[Q] Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP) v Andreas Seppi (ITA) ATP
[Q] Urszula Radwanska (POL) v [Q] Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) WTA

COURT 8 Start 11:00 am

Elena Vesnina (RUS) v Iveta Benesova (CZE) WTA
[Q] Vera Dushevina (RUS) v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) WTA
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) v [Q] Valeria Savinykh (RUS) WTA
[Q] Eva Birnerova (CZE) v Michaella Krajicek (NED) WTA
[Q] Misaki Doi (JPN) v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) WTA

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The U.S. One Step Closer to Regaining World Group Status

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The U.S. One Step Closer to Regaining World Group Status

In today’s third rubber, Serena Williams validated the adage that “it’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts”. Williams overcame Belarus’ Anastasia Yakimova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 to clinch a spot for the United States in the World Group II play-offs.

On Saturday, Australian Open reigning champion Victoria Azarenka withdrew from World Group II competition due to a back injury. With the Worchester Massachusetts fans cheering them on, the Americans led by Serena and Christina McHale banked both ties in straight sets to take a 2-0 edge.

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USA Blast France In Fed Cup

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USA Blast France In Fed Cup

img_3202_bmExcept for the 2003 final in which France prevailed, the U.S. have owned France in Federation Cup competition. Their twelfth meeting occurred in Lievin, France on clay. The Americans dominated in the first round by winning three successive rubbers to clinch a semifinal spot.

On Saturday, in the first rubber after Bethanie Mattek-Sands jumped to a 2-0 lead, France’s Alize Cornet rolled off five straight games to build a 5-2 edge.  After Mattek-Sands crawled out of a triple break point hole and got to 3-5, she altered her tactics by coming more to the net.  It paid off.   Mattek-Sands broke Cornet as she served for the set.  But, following Mattek-Sands breaking for 6-5, she surrendered the lead at love sending the set to a tiebreaker.  A seesaw tiebreaker was ultimately captured by Mattek-Sands.

In the second set, after Cornet broke in the first game, with a sleuth of errors, she allowed Mattek-Sands to level the set. Then, after neither woman relinquished serve, at 5-6, the errors got the better of Cornet. This resulted in Mattek-Sands carrying the initial rubber 7-6,7-5.  Cornet’s record now stands at 0-6 in Fed Cup play.

The second match featured Melanie Oudin against Pauline Parmentier.  Oudin drew first blood in taking a 3-2 lead.  Subsequent to Oudin easily consolidating, Parmentier had 0-30 on Oudin’s serve on various occasions, however, each time the American halted the Frenchwoman.  Oudin took the first set 6-4.

In the second set, Oudin finally capitalized on a couple break point opportunities and went ahead 2-1.  Yet, on double break point, Oudin double faulted squaring the set at 2 all. After netting a forehand, Oudin faced triple break point.  Still, the teenager delivered to arrive at 3 all.  Then, with Parmentier serving at 4 all and 40-0, Oudin applied pressure on the second serve and got to deuce.  Subsequently, with a forehand return winner, Oudin had a second break point.  Oudin converted when Parmentier misfired on a backhand crosscourt.  Afterwards, Oudin kept her composure despite a tough game and closed out the match 6-4,6-4.

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The Dunlop Orange Bowl Showcasing Tomorrow’s Stars

One of the world’s most celebrated juniors tournaments, the 62nd annual Orange Bowl, took place at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne from December 7 thru 14.  For most players, it is a stepping-stone to greatness. Some of the past winners include Roger Federer, Jim Courier, Bjorn Borg, Mary Joe Fernandez, and Chris Evert. Therefore, MiamiTennisBlog.com was on the scene scouting out the game’s future champions.

In the finals of the girls’ 18 category, wildcard entrant Julia Boserup from Boca Raton defeated another wildcard participant Christina McHale from New Jersey 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.  These two competitors are pupils at the USTA Player Development Facility in Boca Raton.  Other names deserving of a few lines include junior Wimbledon Champion and second seed, Laura Robson of Great Britain who retired in the quarterfinals and Nevada resident Asia Muhammad, Andre Agassi’s protégé, a gifted player who reached the third round in singles.  Muhammad did pick up the doubles trophy along with Lauren Embree from Marco Island.

Yuki Bhambri Indian Yuki Bhambri, the second seed, stopped Georgia denizen Jamere Jenkins, ranked 78th, from winning the boys’ 18 title, beating him in two sets 6-1, 6-3.  Jenkins partnered with Devin Britton from Mississippi and exacted a bit of revenge by prevailing in the doubles final over Bhambri and Chase Buchanan from Ohio.  An unseeded player ousted top seed and junior French Open champion, Tsung-Hua Yang of Taiwan, in the third round.

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